Stargazers Vineyard Profile
Written by Brian—May 20, 2018
Pennsylvania has been producing wine since the 1970s. It is fair to say that Stargazers Vineyard in the Brandywine Valley was one of the viticultural pioneers. Owner and winemaker John Weygant started planting grapes in 1979, which makes his vines the state’s third oldest vinifera (European varieties) plantings.
In the early days, Weygant sold his fruit to Chadsford Winery. It was not until 1997 that Stargazers started producing under its own label. Today, the 12 acres under vine are turning out between 1000 and 2000 cases annually. While most of the wine is made from estate fruit, some Riesling is imported from the Finger Lakes and Vidal Blanc is purchased from a grower in Lancaster County.
Weygant is growing and bottling a lineup of very interesting wines. He is one of the few United States growers of Arneis, which is a Northern Italian grape originating in the Piedmont. The Stargazers example displays ripe pear and low acidity, which is typical for this variety.
Cabernet Franc, which does well regionally, was one of the standouts with nice fruit and hints of black pepper in the finish. Another grape that does well locally is Grüner Veltliner and it was probably my favorite Stargazers wine. The hints of peach and balanced acidity really make this a great food wine.
Finding the tasting room was mildly challenging. Part of the roadbed on the primary route has been washed out and it is my understanding that it will never be repaired. It was easy enough to navigate around this and detour signs help mark the alternate route. Weygant told me that the road closing has led to a reduction in tasting room traffic. In response, he has opened a satellite tasting room in the town of Lititz.
Despite any minor inconvenience posed by the road closing, a visit to the main tasting room is still a good idea. Weygant is typically behind the tasting bar and he is a wealth of knowledge about the local region and the history of Pennsylvania wine. The proximity to Philadelphia and the historical significance of Stargazers Vineyard make this an important stop as you explore wineries in the Quaker State. After you stop in, please let me know what you think.